Tackling Corruption: Technology Alone Insufficient To Address Nigeria’s Problem – Soft Alliance MD

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The Managing Director of Soft Alliance, leading technology firm in Nigeria’s software space, Mr. Bisi Aina, has said while concerted efforts are ongoing to eliminate corruption in Nigeria’s public sector using technology, the software initiatives are not on its own sufficient to address the problem.

Aina mentioned that the question of the human factor remains significant to secure an encompassing fight to eliminate the problem of corruption in the country, calling for a necessary change in the disposition of government officials.

“Software alone cannot help us; yes, you can introduce the software and people will find another way to get things (corruption) done, so you need the people,” Aina said while addressing questions posed by journalists in a briefing to herald the organisation’s role in 20 years of its operations of providing solutions to government automation processes to eliminate corruption.

Aina who said while efforts have been galvanised by the organisation to tackle corruption and financial management problems through the use of software to block infractions from the payroll system in the public sector, he said the need to unpopularise the syndrome of corruption among officials must be effectively deployed to complement the efforts of technological initiatives been introduced into the system.

He mentioned that efforts have been ongoing to address corruption from payroll control system and financial management, while deploying a centralised billing system to boost revenue generation.

“We are also calling on other stakeholders to join in this journey to eliminate wastages,” he said, attending to questions on how to address the issue of cutting cost of governance.

“On the revenue generation, we have developed what we call the Central Billing System.  We deployed it in Lagos and currently we are working with other States.

“It has increased the revenue of the States, but like I said it is not the solution alone, it is also working with States internal revenue agencies to ensure that at least people that need to pay are willing to pay, and that when they pay,  the money do not end up in private pockets of officials, but in the designated account of the States, the TSA or any other account as the case may be,” he said.

Aina expressed optimism that Nigeria will improve in its fight against corruption leveraging technology, mentioning that the control system will become more responsive as more robust data capture the details of more citizens.

“I can assure that we would continue to improve, there would be improvement in Nigeria.

“To sustain the system, data is key for anything you want to do, and so today the government is trying to do a lot especially in NIMC (National Identity Management Commission), and there has been over 100 million kept in the records of the NIMC;  that means the government is having about 80 percent of the citizens, and what that means is that whatever we want to do, they can trace us.  The BVN is also there.

“By the time we are able to get enough data when majority of the records of Nigerians have been kept, then the solution will work because you need to be identified; everything you do can be recorded. For example, if you’re a civil servant and we know your salary, have access to information on your bank account, you would be careful with what you do because you know at the end of the day, if you steal money it can actually be traced to your bank account.

“As we increase in data accumulation, I believe technology with artificial intelligence will be able to take care of this.

“Our aim is to ensure that we can use all of this modern technology to increase revenue and reduce wastages,” he said.

Soft Alliance pioneered the first Oracle ERP implementation for Lagos State Government to revolutionalise administrative efficiency. It is also responsible for Implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS), which identified and removed approximately 70,000 ghost workers.

It also built a Central Billing System in 2016 for revenue collection in Nigeria to improve revenue generation and reduce corruption associated with manual receipt issuance.

It also introduced PlateDelect, the first ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition) solution in Nigeria, enhancing transportation management.

The Deputy Director, Business Development, Soft Alliance,  Kolawole Lasaki, mentioned that the organisation will continue to close the gap of dearth of experts by promoting research and capacity development.

He noted that the organisation as part of its the 20th anniversary would engage in Corportate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects which include renovation of schools in selected areas.

Director, Business Development, Soft Alliance, Feyi Agagu, said the journey of the organisation in 20 years of operation, which he described as interesting, has established records of enabling solutions to problems in governance, particularly eliminating wastages in the public sector, as well as key financial and technology driven solutions to private sector giants.

“Our mission remains to provide our clients with state of art technology, so we can continue to provide core values to the public and other stakeholders. We’re hoping to continue that,” he said.